Thank you for your query at DoctorSpring.com
I appreciate your interest in biology and wanting to know how these things exactly work.
Yes you can classify toxicants into acute and chronic - acute in the sense there will be almost an instantaneous effect for example OPC poisoning, where there are immediate neurological symptoms due to inhibition of cholinesterases.
On the other hand, there are heavy metal poisoning which are more chronic in nature- that does not mean the effects will appear after 3-4 months, it will keep appearing over a period of time.
Let's take the example of DDT, if ingested by an human being it will almost immediately show CNS symptoms, however due to slow biotransformation and accumulation in the lipid layers it will be slowly eliminated from the body at a rate of 1 %, provided no treatment is given.
So see the point is any toxicant will start showing effects almost immediately and not after 1-2 months of exposure.
There will be no such sudden death. So you can stop worrying about it.
Patient replied :
Thanks for your answer.
After i saw the article of dartmouth professor's death, my thinking for toxicant has been complicated.. before saw the article, I thought just like doctor's Comment..
But After I saw article, I confused.. Why there was th 5or 6 month delay death after droping one or two drops of dimethylmercury...(when check the level of mercury... it is almost 50times over LD50... why didn't she die in one or two days later.. and why there was no symptoms....
So I though that such kinds of mysterious toxicant could be developed and terrorist could use such kinds of mysterious toxicant in public...
So, Pls. teach me what is wrong in my though...
(some mysterious toxicant enter into neron cell and not directly attack function and only stay and minimally block some function, and then there is no symptom, but after time flows, cell or neron lose their function and gradually die... and organ stop, and die.
Sorry to bother you again. Thank you .
Yes you're right.
That case was extremely shocking and defied all logic.
She barely had one or two drops that entered through her latex glove. And 3-4 months later she started showing all the signs. But then there are people who claimed since she was working she was actually exposed to a lot of mercury. This case defied all logic really. Because no one knows how she died still.
But then when it comes to your thoughts of terrorist using it, see you can never predict. There has been bioterrorism incidents where even recently Ebola's name cropped up, even though most allegations were false.
As far as medical science goes, it is not possible to develop such a chemical where it will just stay for 3-4 months and then cause sudden death. The professor's death was one isolated incident and you never know how much mercury she actually was exposed too, considering she was in the chemistry lab for considerable periods of time.
Hope this was helpful,